Talks that show you how to get to the best out of yourself, your team and the tools you work with.

Flowers At Scale

Stephen Janaway - VP of Engineering for Bloom & Wild

This is a story about scaling with care. It’s a story of how we moved from a small team of developers to a 17 person technology team at Bloom & Wild. We’ve made plenty of mistakes along the way, learnt a whole bunch of lessons and have iterated on what we do many times. We’ve got to something that works for us now and this presentation is all about that journey and what we’ve learnt.

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About Stephen

Steve is the VP of Engineering at Bloom & Wild. the UK’s fastest-growing flower and gifting company. Previously he was Head of Technology at THEOUTNET.COM, part of the YOOX NET-A-PORTER GROUP and has held a number of development, testing and leadership positions in Nokia and Ericsson. He's passionate about how we can use technology to push the boundaries of what’s possible, while building sustainable, happy, high performing teams. He regularly writes and presents about all things leadership and software. co-curates the Testing In the Pub podcast and can be found talking about all things technology on Twitter @stephenjanaway.

Maximising 10 percent time

Liz Pope - Head of Technology at Holiday Extras

10 percent time is a benefit we’ve had in our Tech team at Holiday Extras for over 5 years. It’s helped with improving engagement and performance, and is very valuable for retention and attraction, which in the world of Engineering is priceless!

However, as 10 percent time is such an ingrained part of our team culture it can be hard to keep it fresh, keep people engaged and and for it not to be taken for granted. It’s important that ‘real work’ doesn’t creep back into the 10% time and that we make the most of our time given to learn and innovate.

In my talk I’ll share tips on how to keep learning and development time fresh, keep people engaged and also how to share success back with the rest of the business and management, so that they continue to support it.

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About Liz

Liz is Head of Technology Delivery at Holiday Extras - responsible for the output, performance and personal development of a team of over 100. She focuses on empowering others and supporting them to become the best version of themselves.

Away from work she enjoys watching and playing sports, walking her two rescue dogs and travelling.

What kids have taught me about designing and building user experiences

Laura Yarrow - UX consultant at Experience UX

Children are curious, brave, and not afraid to look stupid, and because of this they are incredibly creative powerhouses. Because both UX design and development are creative endeavours that depend on our ingenuity and problem solving skills, clearly there is a lot we can learn from kids. But at a certain point in our lives, our creative juices run out or plateau. What happens? And what can we learn from kids about creativity? In this humourous and rebellious talk, we’ll look at how children are the ones we should look to learn from if we want to be more innovative in the products, services and experiences we create for our end users.

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About Laura

Laura has spent the last 13 years in the digital industry, first as a web developer and eventually moving into user experience design, fueled by a growing curiosity about the people she was creating products and services for. Her passions are ethnographic and field research, soft skills for UX practitioners, behavioural psychology and understanding people. When she’s not immersed in experience design and spending time with her family, she can also be found reading and trying to write her own book, taming her garden - and playing the piano out of tune.

Daniel Brown

Working effectively with Legacy Code

Daniel Brown - Senior Software Engineer at BBC

Legacy Code is a fact of life for almost any software engineer. But what does Legacy Code mean? How do you end up with Legacy Code? How do you get stuff done when you have to work with it? How can you make it better? How can you be a better engineer for working with it?

In this talk, I’ll be taking you through my journey of learning to work with Legacy Code. We’ll take a look at answering these questions, and how I overcame the challenges of working with Legacy code through my tasks, collaborating my team, and getting stuck in.

Every engineer has had to take on the challenge of working with Legacy Code at some point in their careers, and if they haven’t yet, then you soon will! Working with Legacy Code can be daunting but it shouldn’t be.

Attendees of this talk will obtain: An understanding of Legacy Code obstacles A knowledge different tools to help with working with Legacy Code Applying different techniques to help overcome common obstacles with Legacy Code

About Daniel

A software engineer, currently at the BBC, and previously at eBay for 5 years, and an explorer by night. I have worked on a variety of products across multiple platforms, within local and global cross functional teams.

I've worked at companies that have been around for over 20 years, and has software in service from every period of it's history. I've worked on code bases that cover many periods of their history, and delivered new features safely and successfully.

Melinda Seckington
on Twitter

Level Up: Developing Developers

Melinda Seckington - Technical Manager at FutureLearn

As video games have become more and more complex, game designers put way more time into creating environments where players are engaged and willing to put the time and effort into learning and mastering these skills.

We can learn a lot from how games are designed to make the internal developer experiences better, since it’s a similar type of environment we want to create: an environment where people can learn and master skills. We should make it easier for developers to understand what options are available to them, allow them to make time for learning and provide structures and processes for them to develop the skills that they want and need for future roles.

This talk will look at how you can help level up your developers by using competencies and career development frameworks, what types of processes you can introduce to support personal development and how developers should be using opportunities like these to get a better understanding of what skills they should focus on.

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About Melinda

Melinda Seckington is a Technical Manager at FutureLearn, the social learning platform offering free and paid-for online courses and degrees from leading universities and organisations worldwide. She speaks at international technology conferences and writes for MissGeeky, a blog about all things geeky and girly. When she’s not busy with events or blogging, you can find Melinda curled up on her couch with a good book or video game.

Kevin Borrill
on Twitter

Creating terrible Alexa Skills.

Kevin Borrill - Web Developer at 3 Sided Cube

Designing and Developing for Voice. Easy to do, but difficult to do well. This talk will follow the story of how we initially thought it would be a piece of cake to build an Alexa skill and how wrong we were.

Voice is coming and I will show what you can design to reduce friction and create a conversational experience that won't turn your users away.

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About Kevin

Jazzy Shirt wearing Computing Graduate and Web Developer at 3 Sided Cube.

Coming from a Web background and being brought up in a tech immersed world I've always been passionate about the possibilities of the internet and what it can do to improve our lives.

How Unicorns Can Build Better Chatbots

Alex Radu - Software Engineer at JPMC

In the developer world, unicorns are a hybrid race; part designer, part developer — a talented person who can design visually/conversationally appealing interfaces and yet also has the mindset and skills of a developer. They are somewhat rare, however, they can be the answer to building better, friendlier and more helpful conversational and voice experiences. In this talk we will explore what skills and attributes make a unicorn developer better fit to bridge the fine line between development and design in building chatbots.

About Alex

Best known as lover of unicorns and all things magical, including data, design and code, Alex works at JPMC as a software engineer in Bournemouth and is currently following an MSc Computer Science at the University of Bath. Previously she was at King Digital Entertainment, part of Activision/Blizzard and makers of Candy Crush in Barcelona. She works with data, virtual assistants and mostly develops in Groovy and Java.

Dave Hulbert
on Twitter

Debugging our biases and intuition in software development

Dave Hulbert - Engineering Director at Base

We program algorithms with shortcuts known as heuristics. These allow us to get a good enough answer to a problem with less CPU and memory usage. Brains attempt to take shortcuts too, using intuition and biases to figure things out with less thinking or knowledge. Heuristics are valuable but they're not perfect. We can evaluate best and worst cases for code but how do we do the same with our own decision making process?

In this talk, we'll go through the ups and downs of heuristics and biases that exist in a developer's world. We'll look at ways to reduce any resulting fallacies, whilst still taking advantage of the performance improvement.

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About Dave

Dave leads the team of developers at Passenger, working on apps, APIs and everything in-between. Coming from a software development background, Dave has had ample opportunity to learn from his mistakes and now focuses on helping others avoid them.

Greg Hepworth
on Twitter

Panel Discussion

Greg Hepworth - Kevin Borrill, Liz Pope, Stephen Janaway, Melinda Seckington

Join four of our speakers in conversation talking about the challenges that face the tech industry today. Hosted by our compere, Greg Hepworth, topics may include the UX of voice interfaces, advice for people entering the industry, the team of the future, and privacy and data rights.